These attacks are simple for a hacker to perform yet destructive for the victim. Let’s look at what social engineering threats are and what are the best methods for their prevention.
What is a Social Engineering Attack?
These hackers are smart and use small pieces of information they can find on your social media profiles or trick them out of you using psychological tricks.
Here’s a couple of examples:
– Your security question is “What’s the name of your pet” and you have pictures with your pet all over your Instagram. They’ll use it to get the pet’s name and break through your security question.
– Hackers might call you posing as someone from your bank, asking for credit card information. They might even be able to provide the last four digits of your credit card, which is information they can track down easily from any receipt.
– Hackers might send an email pretending to be someone you know, asking you to click a link they’ve attached.
You get the point.
These social engineering threats can be extremely dangerous, and you need to learn about social engineering security.
How to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks?
1. Mix it Up with Your Passwords
Most people come up with one unique password and use it wherever they need to log in. However, this is making you super-vulnerable and prone to a social engineering attack.
If they manage to figure out one of your passwords, they’ve figured them all out!
Instead, come up with a unique password for each different profile, and you’ll make a step ahead in protecting yourself from social engineering threats.
2. Security Questions Precaution
You might feel like there is some information no one else, but you or your closest friends know about you. That’s why you typically use that information as the answer to a security question:
– your pet’s name
– the name of the street you grew up in
– your mother’s maiden name
– your childhood nickname
But, what if you have an aunt who’s very active on Facebook, and won’t stop leaving comments on your pictures, calling you by your childhood nickname?
That’s a social engineering attack loophole right there.
To avoid having weak security questions, uniquely answer them:
– Mix up the letters in the name of your pet like Benjamin -> Nanijemb
– Answer in a completely random manner, just make sure you memorize it like 8hTn91O
– Come up with a coding system only you can understand
It will increase the level of security.
3. Don’t Give Out Personal Information
Hackers will try to crawl into your personal space, get you to trust them for just a minute and use that against you.
Therefore, watch out for the following situations:
– You receive an email from a friend, asking for personal information, or containing a strange link. Your friend asking you to click it or download something ASAP. Instead of doing so, give your friend a call and check whether that’s actually them sending you the email.
– Make sure your social media profiles are set to Private and only your friends can see your information. Even so, avoid leaving your phone number, email address, or other personal information available.
– If your bank calls you asking for confidential information over the phone, be suspicious. Hang up the phone and give your bank a call to ensure it’s them you’re talking to.
4. Be Suspicions and Not Gullible
Some of these spam emails are obviously a con, but sometimes hackers act wisely and manage to trick you into believing them.
To ensure maximum social engineering security, you have to:
– respond to zero “prize-winning” emails
– suspect everyone, every time
– delete email titled “congrats!” or “prize winner!”
Trust no one and stay on the safe side.
Make sure to use the advice given above and stay safe from social engineering threats.
About Marie Fincher
Marie Fincher is a cyber-security blogger whose mission is to help people stay protected online, and provide valuable information about different ways we might become victims of hacker and cyber-attacks. She is also one of the writers at Trust My Paper.